Art competition aims to spice up Third Street

By:  Laura Schulte with Wausau Daily Herald

The north end of Third Street is about to become a little more colorful. 

Artists are being invited by the Wausau River District to submit art that they can turn into murals on homes and businesses along the north end of Third Street. 

The idea came from Gisy Marks, owner of The Glass Hat, who dreams of one day creating more of an artist's community in the area around the bar. And that's where the name — Art Lives Here — came from, said Liz Brodek, the executive director of the nonprofit Wausau River District Inc., which advocates for downtown businesses. 

During the weekend of Wausau's Artrageous celebration, Sept. 7 through 10, 25 artists will be invited to translate their work into a small mural, visible from the street. Some will be painted directly on buildings and some will be painted on plywood, which will then be mounted on buildings. 

Blake Opal-Wahoske, the assistant director of the River District, hopes the project will also mutually benefit artists as well as the community, helping them to get exposure for the work they do. 

Brodek and Opal-Wahoske also hope the art will encourage younger Wausau residents to consider the neighborhood surrounding the area as a place to live and even shop. 

"It opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. (Art Lives Here) really showcases the arts community that's been untapped," Brodek said. "It's all about vibrancy."

The Art Lives Here competition will accept applications for murals through Aug. 11. Artists are asked to submit several scaleable examples of their work, and to choose which location they'd like to paint. Artists are encouraged to apply in groups, Brodek said, because the murals have to be completed within the four days of Artrageous Weekend.

Votes for the weekend's winning mural will be cast by those who donate to the winnings. Each donor will get one vote, whether they contribute $1 or $100. The artist (or artists) behind the best mural will receive $750, second place will receive $300 and third will receive $150. 

For more information, visit the Art Lives Here Wausau Facebook page

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